Choosing where to live is an undertaking at times but choosing whether you’d be better off purchasing a
GroupWatsons DFW Relocation Guide
Are you planning a move to the Dallas-Fort Worth- Denton metroplex area? Moving to a new city can be nerve-racking, in part due to all the changes you’ll need to remember. To help make the transition easier, we have compiled a handy guide & list of “to-do’s” to tackle once you arrive. We hope this will help you focus on the journey and reduce some of the stress.
Choosing where to live. The DFW “metroplex” is made up of 3 larger cities in a triangular shape- Dallas to the east, Fort Worth to the west, and smaller Denton to the north. In between are numerous suburbs, each with its own appeal. One of the most important factors to consider when choosing where to live from afar is your commute time tolerance. Map out your route from work to various parts of town that you’re considering and do so during the time of day you expect to be driving that route for the most realistic traffic estimates.
Education. Another huge factor in choosing a community, for those relocating with kids, is often the school districts. Future Texans may view school rating information by visiting The Texas Education Agency’s website at https://tea.texas.gov/ . Another great site for ratings information is www.niche.com. Niche provides area crime data and additional ratings based on factors like nightlife, cost of living, diversity, and more. Other useful tools to consider would be the city Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development websites.
Most school offices have limited hours during the summer, and then open up again in August for new student registrations. Typically, parents will need to provide a copy of each child’s birth certificate or passport, proof of residency (a utility bill or lease is usually accepted for this purpose), copies of transcript or records from the previous schools, and up-to-date vaccine records (or appropriate documentation from physicians on vaccine exemptions). Contact the school or district you’re moving to for a complete list.
Texas prospective college students have the privilege of using a state-wide standard application for public and state colleges and universities. This same application can be used to apply for numerous scholarships as well. Visit www.applytexas.org for details, to begin an application, or for resources to help choose a Texas school.
Transportation. As a whole, the DFW area is pretty car-dependent, especially in the suburbs. There are some pubic transportation options in the larger cities, and some of the surrounding areas, via the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system (or DART) busses and rail line, the Trinity Metro (or T) system of busses, rail, and train in Fort Worth, and the Denton the Denton County Transportation Authority (or DCTA) busses and A Train. These systems work together for commuters that need to connect from one to another. Mega Bus and Greyhound provide long distance travel options from the Dallas or Fort Worth area to other nearby large cities.
For air travel, the area is served by 2 main airports- DFW International- a major international airport & base for American Airlines located near Irving; and Dallas Love Field-the home of Southwest Airlines, is a smaller regional airport, operated by the City of Dallas, with mostly domestic flights and a few international flights.
Once you’re settled, you’ll need to register your car at your new county’s tax office and update your driver’s license. The state allows new residents 30 days for registration, and 90 days for a new driver’s license to make it official. Texas cars are required to be insured and to pass an annual safety & emission inspection. Proof of insurance & a passing inspection are required to register. Visit http://txdmv.gov/motorists/new-to-texas for full details, or to find the nearest inspection & tax office locations. For full instructions on new driver’s licenses, go to http://www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/movingtotexas.htm.
Taxes. Whether we like it or not, taxes are part of life. While Texas has one of the higher property tax rates in the nation, there is no state income tax, so it evens out. Texas homeowners may apply for a tax exemption on their primary residence called a General Residence Homestead Exemption (commonly referred to as just Homestead). Homeowners become eligible on the first January 1st during which they live in the home full time, and may apply for the exemption beginning that tax year. Property taxes are “ad valorem,” meaning based on the property’s value, as determined by a county appraiser each year. The Homestead reduces the county’s appraised value used for calculating the school district tax (usually the bulk of the property tax paid in Texas) by $25,000 (or more in some limited circumstances) before assessing the property tax, saving homeowners some money. The Homestead exemption provides some other great protections, too, such as debt foreclosure protection and an annual cap on assessed value increases. Visit https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/propert-tax/exemptions to learn more about Homestead or other homeowner tax exemptions offered by the state.
Utilities. In Texas, most areas have several options for electrical power, but water and gas service providers are limited. Homeowners living in an electrical “co-op” area or city municipal provider area will have only one option for electricity. Denton, Frisco, and Aubrey are a few of the areas with only one electricity provider option. The City of Denton owns their own electric company to serve residents, while Frisco and Aubrey are in a CoServ “co-op” area and Those in “deregulated” areas outside of a co-op and without a city-owned provider may visit www.powertochoose.org to compare service providers and their rates. Keller Williams Dallas Preston Road also offers an in-house utility concierge person to help assist in comparing rates and setting up most of the utilities in your new home. Internet and cable TV providers will vary by neighborhood, and our concierge can help with shopping around on these as well.
GroupWatson is relocation certified and registered with many major relocation companies. Take advantage of our market knowledge and years of experience to help make the best decisions for your needs, and to keep your move as smooth as it can be.
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